May 14, 2012 | 2:06 am
Mahmoud Abbas should start talking with Israel instead of trying again to bring international pressure to force Netanyahu’s hand, writes Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary Magazine.
Abbas may harbor hopes a re-elected Obama will return to the pattern of his first three years in office and again seek to pressure Netanyahu to give in to Palestinian demands. But even if that comes to pass, there is only so much his foreign friends can do for him if he isn’t willing to talk to the Israelis. Abbas has demonstrated time and again that he isn’t willing or capable of signing a peace agreement that would recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.
Walter Russell Mead of the American Interest calls into question the BBC’s choice of the phrase “the Jewish lobby” in an interview with Norman Finkelstein.
To speak of “the Jews” in the aggregate, as though they form a monolithic super-entity with a single view and agenda, is exactly the kind of thinking that gutter anti-Semitism embraces in every age. To talk of an all-powerful “Jewish lobby” which controls American foreign policy is to embrace the paranoid fantasies of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Matthew Shaer of the Forward takes a look at the Shomrim, a group of ultra-Orthodox men whose anti-crime patrols have sometimes caused friction in their local neighborhoods, and occasionally with the police.
History suggests that the most effective Shomrim patrols are the ones that maintain an active and friendly relationship with the local police. This is the case, for instance, in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Boro Park, where police often speak approvingly of the Shomrim patrols, and in Crown Heights, where the local precinct house has cleared a room for members to congregate. In exchange, the Shomrim patrols keep the NYPD informed of their activities, and up to date on happenings inside the community. And they seem increasingly less likely to operate outside the bounds of the law.
Writing in the Guardian, Abdel Bari Atwan warns that a third party has entered Syria with the express intent of heightening the already problematic sectarian tensions in the country.
If the extremist groups manage to hasten the fall of the regime, their agenda is unlikely to end there. In post-Saddam Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaida offshoot fanned the flames of a Sunni-Shia sectarian war that was only extinguished by the US army’s “surge” and General Petraeus’s “Awakening” campaign, which overwhelmed the jihadis temporarily. But in Syria there are no US forces, no Petraeus in sight.
George Jahn of the Associated Press obtains a computer-generated drawing said to prove that Iran has a facility that would enable nuclear weapons tests.
That official said the image is based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site, adding that going into detail would endanger the life of that informant. The official comes from an IAEA member country that is severely critical of Iran’s assertions that its nuclear activities are peaceful and asserts they are a springboard for making atomic arms.
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